Triple threat: Senior trio leads the way for BP volleyball team

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

From left: Blooming Prairie's Nicole Inwards, Taylor Hagen and Madison Worke have all been starters on the BP volleyball team since they were freshman. -- Rocky Hulne/

From left: Blooming Prairie’s Nicole Inwards, Taylor Hagen and Madison Worke have all been starters on the BP volleyball team since they were freshman. — Rocky Hulne/

Three years ago the Blooming Prairie volleyball team brought up three wide eyed freshmen up to the varsity squad.

They had plenty of talent and they saw significant time with the team, but they may have been in a little over their

Blooming Prarie's Madison Worke makes a dig against Southland in Adams Saturday. -- Herald File Photo

Blooming Priarie’s Madison Worke makes a dig against Southland in Adams last season. — Herald File Photo

heads with everything that goes along with being a varsity athlete. Now BP seniors Madison Worke, Taylor Hagen and Nicole Inwards have progressed into major leaders for the Awesome Blossoms.

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“Our mental toughness has definitely grown. When were freshman if we made a mistake, we’d freak out. Now we’re able to control our emotions a lot better,” Inwards said. “There’s no holding back and there’s no regrets this year.”

BP’s experienced trio helps the squad in all aspects of the game as Inwards plays libero, Worke is a setter and Hagen is a hitter. They also have a knack for communicating with their coach, even when it doesn’t necessarily involve speaking.

“Some things are easy for us to talk to and some things we don’t even have to talk about because it’s second nature for us,” BP head coach Gina McLaughlin said. “I remember when we first pulled them up as freshman and I was thinking it’s going to be the biggest teaching year ever. Now they’ve all been taught and they’re able to teach the incoming kids. It’s awesome.”

Blooming Prairie's Nicole Inwards handles a serve during game two of their match against Austin in Packer Gym. -- Herald File Photo

Blooming Prairie’s Nicole Inwards handles a serve in Packer Gym. — Herald File Photo

The Awesome Blossoms went 22-8 overall last season, they were 21-8 overall in 2012 and they were 17-13 in 2011. But despite that regular season success, the Blossoms haven’t been able to make a whole lot of noise in the postseason. It doesn’t help that they play in a very difficult subsection, but BP is hoping to make a splash this season.

“We’ve learned a ton and it hasn’t only been about volleyball. We’ve learned about life skills and communication,” Worke said. “We’re going to make it something remember. It’s our last year and we’re going to give it all we’ve got.”

McLaughlin said this year will be different than year’s past as she is going to move Worke, Inwards and Hagen to different spots on the court so she can fully utilize their talents. She also expects BP’s supporting cast to be stronger this season.

“These three kids have been awesome and we’re going to surround them with some talent,” McLauhlin said. “We’ve been knocking on the door and this time we have the right blend of height. We’re adding the right ingredients this year and I think that’s going to make a difference.”

Blooming Prairie's Taylor Hagen makes a hit against Southland last season. -- Herald File Photo

Blooming Prairie’s Taylor Hagen makes a hit against Southland last season. — Herald File Photo

Playing together throughout their volleyball careers has brought Worke, Hagen and Inwards closer together. They’re all usually on the same page and they know what their teammates are looking for.

“We’re friends off the court and on the court,” Hagen said.

Then again there are still times when personalities clash on the court.

“They’re like sisters. Sometimes they’ll give looks at each other and they’ll accept it as thought they’re family,” McLaughlin said.

While Inwards, Hagen and Worke will all likely have their names in the BP record books by season’s end, Inwards is the only one who is considering playing college volleyball. Hagen has already verbally committed to play Division I basketball at University of Northern Iowa and Worke isn’t interested in playing college volleyball.

BP will open put its season against Maple Lake Aug. 23 at the Hopkins Invitational at noon. The Blossoms will host Medford Aug. 26 at 7:15 p.m.


Taylor Hagen: The senior hitter holds the BP school record for kills in a season with 329 last year and she currently has 762 career kills and 506 complete blocks. BP grad Marie Morem currently holds the career record for kills at 811.

Madison Worke: The senior setter has 1,953 career set assists and she has a solid chance of catching BP’s all-time set assist leader Resha Koster, who finished her career with 2,132 career set assists.

Nicole Inwards: The senior holds the BP season record for digs with 481 and career record for digs with 1,156.